Polar Explorer Eric Larsen
Day 3: New YorkATHON
Eric Larsen
24 October 2019 | New York
We are currently camped at an undisclosed location a couple of miles from Elizabeth town. I am relaxing on a perfectly inflated Therm-a-Rest inside our MSR Hubba Hubba. Overall, it was a good day with beautiful weather (a surprise) and incredible views.

Along the way we saw big cliffs, multi colored mountains, rivers, ponds and a older man hanging in his front yard who offered us â??some peppermint schnappsâ? and then after we politely refused asked, â??How about a hit from a bong?â? We again politely refused. â??Youâ??re not driving,â? he added as we parted ways smiling at his persistence.

Gus, on the other hand currently, is not as relaxed and is poking and prodding at his many blisters. While we both felt that the miles and hours ticked away fairly steadily, Gus dealt with a progressively severe set of blisters on his feet. Itâ??s hard to watch someone hike in such pain. Last year, during the WisconsATHON I had a few that were particularly painful. Two years ago in Colorado, Ben had some of the worst I had ever seen in my life all while hiking 30 miles on our last day before reaching the Colorado River. Needless to say, it happens to everyone, but it does add a layer of severity to our situation as well as affect our ability to make miles quickly.

With long road miles ticking away under our feet my thoughts naturally turned inward. My friend since college, Seanâ??s mom died yesterday and I thought a lot about her and Sean. My own Dad died a couple of years ago and Sean was there for me as well. Being out here, not being able to help my friend more is frustrating. It is also a reminder of how the path I have chosen impacts those around me.

I called Maria and we talked while I hiked along. Itâ??s actually one of my favorite things to do - although I canâ??t do it very often as Iâ??m usually in places out of cell coverage. But during my polar training and sometimes in Longyearbyen, weâ??ll talk as I ski along in a whiteout about... whatever. Sure there are often discussions about logistics or other family business matters but more often than not it is just simple conversations about weather, friends, something funny one of the kids said. Needless to say, I smiled for nearly a half hour after we hung up. Another important piece of happiness in the day.

I spent a little bit of time second guessing my decision to stop kayaking early but then realized it was the best choice for us. As it stands right now, we are a few miles ahead of schedule which, surprisingly, has never happened on a StateATHON previously. Usually, we are always playing catch up from a variety of unforeseen obstacles. So we have that going for us, which is nice.

For his part, Gus has been fairly resolute in his focus and a solid partner. I feel bad for him, however, at times as my natural tendency during long grinding days is to get lost deep in my own thoughts. I try to give Gus encouragement and advice but at a certain point (for me) there is not much else to say. Of course l, we have shared a few hearty laughs today as well.

Even though we are hiking on a road the scenery has been picturesque both adjacent to the road and in the distance. I am surprised at how much this terrain reminds me of northern Minnesota.

Now, it is time to go to sleep. Any problems that we have with our aching bodies or weary minds will hopefully be washed away by a good nightâ??s sleep in an undisclosed location two miles from Elizabethtown.

Please remember, giving back is also a primary goal of this adventure. Please help raise $5,000 to support NYC ICO adventures. Donations will go directly to their programming and can be made through the online fundraising page: https://www.classy.org/campaign/new-yorkathon-supporting-nyc-inspiring-connections-outdoors/c252861

Image: More road hiking.
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